Kelly Renee Turner, Colorado mother indicted in 7 year old daughter, Olivia Gant’s murder after previously claiming girl dying of rare disease. How mom conned the system and collected a swelling pay-day.
A Colorado woman claiming her 7-year-old daughter’s death was the result of a rare and incurable disease has been charged with murdering the girl.
Kelly Renee Turner, 41, was indicted with two counts of murder and child abuse in the August 2017 death of Olivia Gant, Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said Monday in a press statement.
‘While it has been an extremely emotional case, they have investigated all aspects of it with diligence and professionalism,’ Spurlock said, praising, ‘the various investigators who worked on the case.’
Turner, who also goes by Kelly Gant upon her arrest Friday at a hotel in Glendale, Colo., was also indicted on theft, charitable fraud and forgery charges.
In total, Turner faced a total of 13 separate charges – 11 of them felonies, including first-degree murder – in the death of her middle daughter, according to the indictment.
Among other charges against her, 9news reported Turner being accused of defrauding the Medicaid system, two foundations that provide memorable experiences to terminally ill children and hundreds of people who donated to her online fundraising page.
The indictment alleges Turner defrauded the Medicaid system of more than $538,000. Charges also allege the mother of ‘ripping off’ both a funeral home and a cemetery that handled the girl’s arrangements.
No bond was set for the mother following a Monday court appearance, Fox 31 Denver reported.
Stunning twist of events:
The indictment follows investigators obtaining a search warrant to exhume Olivia’s body which failed to show the girl stricken with the incurable rare disease her mother had claimed Olivia suffering from.
Turner’s arrest comes as a ‘stunning twist’ in what had been a feel-good story which had received widespread media coverage prior to Olivia’s death.
The girl’s mother had previously claimed Olivia suffering from neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy, a rare disease causing the body’s vital organs essentially to shut down, with no available cure.
The indictment stated Olivia never had neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy, KMGH-TV reported.
Prior to the 7 year old girl’s death, Olivia fulfilled a ‘bucket’ list of achievements, including her being a cop and a firefighter for a day.
‘She’s in intestinal failure and we don’t know how much longer she has,’ the girl’s mother said in spring 2017.
Turner even started a GoFundMe page for her daughter which raised over $22,000.
Death by Munchausen syndrome by proxy?
Court papers showed the coroner who performed an autopsy after Olivia’s body was exhumed finding nothing to substantiate Olivia having died of intestinal failure or of any of the other illnesses that Turner claimed she had.
The pathologist, Dr. Kelly Lear, an Arapahoe County’s coroner ruled the manner of the Olivia’s cause of death ‘undetermined.’
Of disconcert, KHOU11 reported Turner, mentioned ‘Munchausen syndrome by proxy’ when being questioned, the indictment says.
Previous incidents of parents facilitating their child’s own self harm and even death describe the syndrome as a mental disorder in which a caregiver lies or exaggerates a child’s medical symptoms – in a bid to get attention.
In extreme cases, parents or caregivers actually cause injuries or illnesses that later require medical attention.
How the medical and healthcare system may have betrayed a young girl:
‘Olivia was with us for a very short time, but through her short life and big battles she taught us that we can be joyful in all things,’ Olivia’s obituary read. ‘After many operations and numerous stays in the hospital, Olivia always came home with a smile.’
‘It was only the last month that the playing and talking began to cease,’ the obituary concluded. ‘Our precious little princess will now have a new body, no tubes, no more pain or sickness and everlasting joy with our Lord. See you in heaven our precious Olivia added.’
Soberingly, Turner as part of her 13 indictment count against her was also accused of endangering another daughter, who is now 11 years old. Turner claimed publicly the girl had cancer – something the girl’s medical records show was not true. Turner is now facing child abuse charges in relation to that child’s handling.
Not immediately clear is how doctors and medics had never prior to Olivia’s death formally diagnosed the girl and given an actual account of the girl’s health.
Reports 9news: ‘Multiple doctors who didn’t believe Olivia was terminally ill battling a mother who was so persuasive that she convinced one of the physicians to sign a “do not resuscitate” order and ultimately withdrew all of her daughter’s medical care – including what is known as Total Parenteral Nutrition, which provided nourishment through an intravenous line.’
In fact, Turner had successfully argued that Olivia was so sick, and her quality of life so poor, that the humane thing to do was to stop medical care and allow her to die. Medical care was indeed turned off with Olivia dying a few weeks later, on Aug. 20, 2017.
Also unclear is how Olivia actually came to die and whether her death was orchestrated for the sheer purpose of collecting funds from an unsuspecting public. But perhaps equally troubling is what Olivia’s death suggests about the medical and health care industry as a whole and how one woman was able to ‘play the system’.
Turner is scheduled to re-appear in court, November 1.